Feng Shui – Audiophile Style

The setting where we listen is important to the enjoyment and appreciation of the music. How important? I think more important than what people, on average, think it is. In fact, I think it is very important.

Even if you typically close your eyes while listening – lingering smells of that fish dinner you had 2 days ago, or a hard chair, or your neighbors arguing in he background about whether to watch Kung Fu Panda or Return 2 Madagascar [both are great] – will affect how we are hearing what we are listening to.

Feng Shui as currently practiced seems to avoid the consideration of sound systems, sound quality and, in fact, basic listening room functionality, in their designs. Or maybe it is just practiced by people hostile to audiophiles. [after looking up more information, it appears to be a somewhat unstructured and undisciplined practice - its greatest asset seeming to be that it actually brings some kind of human aesthetic, livability, into what had been exclusively economically-driven decision making. In fact, we may switch to calling this Livability just to side-step some of the Feng Shui hype]

So what we will do, over several posts, is to try and come up with our own Feng Shui for our listening rooms.

Let’s start by listing some of the things that can make listening to high-end audio not quite as pleasant as it might otherwise be [in no specific order, and some people are really affected by some of these, and some of us are not]:

System

1. Visual Cable Spaghetti [oh, we are SO bad at this]
2. Cables one has to walk over
3. Dust bunny build-up [:-)]
4. A cluttered equipment rack
5. Equipment on the rack with different colored faceplates
6. Equipment on the rack with different colored LEDs
7. Equipment on the rack with LEDs
8. Unattractive or overly large speakers

Seating

This is something I really care about and Neli not so much.

1. Seating too high or low
2. Seating too soft or hard
3. Seating reclined too far or with bad lumbar support
4. Seating with a reflective surface up near the ears
5. Seating that allows sunshine to get in the eyes
6. Seating that faces away from an awesome view of some kind

View

We wrote about this before. Ever-changing nature views [or solid colors] seem to be preferable so that a person does not get completely bored with what they are looking at. [Yes, some people just listen in the dark, which is another option].

1. A boring view
2. A view lacking some kind of symmetry
3. A view that reminds us of other things we have to be doing [e.g. mowing the grass]

Ambiance

Choose an overall ambiance and try and be consistent:

a. Lap of luxury,
b. Rustic,
c. Modern,
d. Homey,
e. Comfortable,
f. Historical,
g. Theme-based [for example, covering the walls in Grateful Dead posters, or LPs, or Native American art or...]

Positioning

It is my supposition that getting to the listening chair is not as important as it might be in other applications [i.e.offices, where the dynamics between the person behind the desk and visitors coming and going is of primary importance] . This is because, like home theaters, one, generally, spends 99% of their time in the listening/viewing chairs and not coming and going from the room – so having the chair with its back to the door is appropriate [Livable] as well as functional.

Next… example turnkey Audiophile Feng Shui setups.